Flailing In The Salt - Big Talbot Island State Park

One of my co-workers mentioned to me the other week that if I wanted to see something pretty interesting, to head up to Big Talbot Island State Park along Nassau Sound.  He said I had to see the "Dead Tree Beach," or something along those lines...

With KC & Lilly hanging with the in-laws down in Melbourne, FL, I thought it might be an opportunity to do some exploring...and where there's water, heck, why not bring the fly rod just because I didn't pay for that Florida fresh & saltwater fishing license for no reason...


Well, they weren't kidding, this place was pretty crazy.  Tons of dead trees (I assume toppled by erosion) that were bleached by the sand & salt, just line the beach for a really long stretch.  And then there are these slippery as heck "rocks" I guess that are made of compressed sand or mud or something...  Pretty surreal...I almost expected to round the corner and see the head and outreached arm of a buried Statue of Liberty in front of me...to which the only appropriate reaction would have been to drop to my knees crying, "God Damn You All To Hell"...


Here are some pics...


As for the fishing?  Well I tried for a bit, but I'm not really versed on what I should be casting to, or what I should be throwing, or really anything.  I did see the fin and tail of a small shark cruising in the shallows, so I tossed a fly at that for a little bit.  Had some follows, but no takes.  Probably for the better...I mean it would have either shredded my leader and stole my fly...or I would have had to figure out what the heck to do with it once ashore...  Are you supposed to remove flies from inside a shark's mouth?  I don't even want to think about that...  Maybe it's better fishing at high tide.  There were TONS of crabs scurrying about the sand everywhere.

While the fishing on this day wasn't so hot, I'll probably head back up that way again as there were some promising looking salt marshes on the other side of the highway opposite the beach and along the route just South.  I think one was called Simpson Creek?  Will probably need a kayak or SUP or something though to best fish those.  I'll have to do some Googling to figure out what the deal is there.


Anyway, I guess this is all a part of adjusting to fly fishing this part of the country.  Although I do feel a bit out of place as EVERYONE else seems to be a spin fisherman either casting from the beach, a pier, or off a bridge.  At least it's fun figuring out new things.  We'll see how long the novelty lasts...


Comments

  1. Tip: You have to strip the fly, sometimes the faster the better. No more drifting.

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  2. Dear Mike, contrary to popular myth in the culture of fly fishing, sometimes another form of fishing is more practical. I'm not saying it's better than fly fishing on an ethical, moral, political or economic level, but that given a little thought it might be considered to be.....more productive. :) Myself, I owned only fly rods (and one lone spinning rod for bass in the spring) for about a decade. Now I own at least 6 spinning rods and reel and only two fly rods that I use. ( I have retired one old rod from the 90's so I don't break it ) Florida's water and it's fish, as you no doubt know, are a world apart from the beautiful but small brown trout of Valley Creek - and I think you'd be wise to invest in a spinning rod of decent proportions for some of those adventures down there. Also remember though, that most of those people casting from piers and bridges are fishing for meat. That doesn't mean, however that they're not using the most effective tools for the job. :) I'm more excited to watch you discover what Florida has to offer than I probably should be. Love, love. :) lol - owl

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Owl...

      While I totally agree with you on the "best tool for the job" thing...there's certain things I'd like to learn/achieve for the sake of learning/achieving them. While I don't own any surf rods, I do have a fair amount of spinning gear, including a really big (forget the model #) Pflueger Supreme reel & All Star rod..so some of it is perhaps even ready to take on the task at hand.

      That said, why not try the fly in the salt? Most effective? Most efficient? Maybe not, but no reason not to. I've caught fish off piers and boats with spinning tackle and squid or shrimp as bait on vacations all the time...just very infrequently on the fly. So why not?

      That said, I do know if I give it another go, I need one of those laundry baskets to hang around my neck to catch the flyline as I strip it back in. Holy smokes what a PITA.

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    2. I know a lot of guys that do it , but there are "seasons" up here in the mid Atlantic when most people are casting meat instead of the fly rod. Big drum season in October-November is one example , as in: why waste your time waving a stick when you can use a heaver and 8-n-bait for a 50 pound red. Florida gets "redfish" action , but nothing like the big runs we see in the fall. The water is too calm down your way. That said , I'm sure once you get the lay of the land you'll do the same. You need to catch : Permit , Pompano , Cobia , Spanish Mackerel , Snook , and a bunch of others. You'll love it. Wintertime is probably a good time to break out the long rod for big biters.

      I'm no fly fisherman , by any stretch of the imagination , but you should probably be using three basic patterns , crab , shrimp , and minnow. Lots of variations on those three , but you get the idea. Crab and shrimp can be fished slower , but the minnows need to be fished fast. Probably 3 or 4 times as fast as anything you've ever fished. I need to put you in touch with a few guys I know that fish Florida and use fly gear.

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  3. PS - did you have to get to the beach by climbing down some rickety old home-made ladder? :)

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    Replies
    1. No, there was a path by the highway...but there was a ladder a little bit further down.

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  4. There is a place for a fly rod in Florida, but I think you'll find that a 6'6" or 7' spinning rod will be the rig of choice. Kind of hard to cast a fly rod off a pier 15 feet above the water. Also, not a good idea to stick your hand in the mouth of a shark to remove the fly. Personally, if the shark did hit the fly, I'd donate the fly to experience.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, not pier fishing with the fly rod. And I agree with you on the shark...I like my fingers.

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  5. Michael, just wanted to add how interesting the shore line is that you featured. I wouldn't mind spending some time there myself. Only been to Florida once in my life and that was the Disney World thing with the family. Wish you the best in your fishing experiences there, fly or spin, just hook up!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel. It's definitely an interesting place...like Disney World...just in a different way.

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